Effects of Floating Sun Gear in a Wind Turbine's Planetary Gearbox with Geometrical Imperfections

Amir Rasekhi Nejad, Yihan Xing, Yi Guo, Jonathan Keller, Zhen Gao, Torgeir Moan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus Citations


This paper addresses the effect of gear geometrical errors in wind turbine planetary gearboxes with a floating sun gear. Numerical simulations and experiments are employed throughout the study. A National Renewable Energy Laboratory 750 kW gearbox is modelled in a multibody environment and verified using the experimental data obtained from a dynamometer test. The gear geometrical errors, which are both assembly dependent and assembly independent, are described, and planet-pin misalignment and eccentricity are selected as the two most influential and key errors for case studies. Various load cases involving errors in the floating and non-floating sun gear designs are simulated, and the planet-bearing reactions, gear vibrations, gear mesh loads and bearing fatigue lives are compared. All tests and simulations are performed at the rated wind speed. For errorless gears, the non-floating sun gear design performs better in terms of gear load variation, whereas the upwind planet bearing has more damage. In the floating sun gear scenario, the planet misalignment is neutralized by changing the sun motion pattern and the planet gear's elastic deformation. The effects of gear profile modifications are also evaluated, revealing that profile modifications such as crowning improve the effects of misalignment.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2105-2120
Number of pages16
JournalWind Energy
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-61671


  • floating sun gear
  • gear misalignment
  • planetary gears
  • wind turbine drivetrains


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